How to Select the Right Welding Training Program near Laveen Arizona
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Laveen AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Laveen AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Laveen AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Laveen AZ area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Laveen AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Laveen AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Laveen AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Laveen AZ welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Laveen AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Laveen AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Laveen Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Laveen AZ.